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UN-IOC Forum ends with calls for International Day of Sport and Physical Activity

14 June 2013
UN Photo/Mark Garten

New York (UNOSDP)- Last week the 3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development came to a close in New York. The two day event at the United Nations Head Quarters from 5 to 6 June 2013 was concluded as a great success by the UN Special Adviser, Mr. Wilfried Lemke.


To recognize the international efforts of the use of sport as a contributing factor to development and peace resolution, the forum announced the creation of “United Nations International Day of Sport and Physical Activity. This announcement looks to build on efforts made to mainstream sport in policy-making at all levels. The International Day of Sport should advocate the UN’s contribution to education, human development, healthy lifestyles and a peaceful world.

 UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke supports the introduction of the International Day of Sport:

 “The use of sport as an educational tool has long been underestimated, and with the introduction of the UN’s day of sport, we can further extend the good work that happens around development through sport.”

 Additional to the declaration, was the call for action on the need for governments to ensure that adequate financial resources are made available for quality education in primary and secondary school prgrammes. Also included was the call to increase investment around the development of infrastructures, and to provide safe and accessible public spaces for physical activity and sport; increased contextualised and adapted sport-based programmes for peace-building and violence prevention; the inclusion of social development legacies as part of planning and implementation of all sports events; and the development and strengthening of evaluation and monitoring tools on the social and economic impact of sport and more interdisciplinary research to provide scientific evidence and best practices.

Over the course of the forum, examples of how sport can be used to promote positive social change, development and conflict resolution. As the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Lemke was able to offer important words in this field.

 “It is extremely important that we target youth in pre and post conflict zones with sport programmes. This helps to break the vicious circle of hopelessness, unemployment and dramatization.”

 He continues:

 “The importance of the ‘sport for all approach’ is of the utmost importance, and we should work very hard to make sure that barriers are overcome and sport is available to everyone regardless of location, gender, sex, religion or sexuality.”

 In his closing remarks Mr. Lemke concluded that the forum had been an overall success, and that the strong collaboration between the IOC and the United Nations has led to this fruitful and educational event. Although now, the Special Adviser requests that these calls for actions should now be implemented at the ground level.

 “Drawing on our vast years of experience, we should now all return to our governments, institutions and organizations and look how we can install these actions in to policies. Through the opportunity here in New York to network and create partnerships, you should never be lost when you need advice. It is now our responsibility to put these words into actions.”

 To conclude, the Special Adviser encouraged everyone to set their own two year goal that they would like to realize before the next forum. Where he proposed should take place in Nairobi, Kenya or Addis, Ethopia, as both hold UN Regional Headquarters.


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